Juneteenth – Celebrating the Day of Freedom

The YMCA of San Diego County has joined the movement to raise awareness and recognition of Juneteenth, which was officially designated as a federal holiday in 2021, with the signing of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act. This date marks the anniversary of June 19, 1865, when Union troops liberated the final group of enslaved Black Americans. Juneteenth is not merely Black history; it is American history. 

Acknowledgement and enthusiasm surrounding this historic moment is growing, and the ongoing struggle for equality, diversity, inclusion and justice reminds us of the importance of recognizing Juneteenth as a pivotal date in U.S. history.


Although President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, officially ending slavery in the Confederacy, many southerners sought to evade the executive order by relocating enslaved people to Texas. However, Union troops pursued them and arrived in Galveston during the summer of 1865, ultimately liberating over 250,000 Black Americans. This marked their formal emancipation and in December 1865, the 13th Amendment officially abolished slavery.

Juneteenth, also known as "Jubilee Day," is sometimes regarded as America's true Independence Day, as July 4, 1776, symbolizes liberty and justice for only some Americans, not all.


Our diverse San Diego community offers numerous opportunities to engage, including parades, parties and charity events. Let this holiday serve as a reminder of purpose and relevance as we celebrate resiliency and emancipation.